Oil Spill: Senator calls on Shell to speed-up remediation

Andrew Uchendu, Senator representing Rivers East senatorial district in the National Assembly, has said he would write to oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the recent oil spill that occurred at Agba-Ndele community in Emohua local government area of Rivers State.

This is as he said said he would ensure that speedy action is taken on the dilapidated section of the East-West Road in Emohua community, headquarters of Emohua local government area, within two weeks in order to put an end to the hardship being experienced by the road users and residents of the state.

Uchendu gave the assurance when he visited the oil spill site to assess the extent of the damage.

He also said he would take immediate legislative steps to ensure that the spill site is cleaned up.

He said: “This information came to me only last night when I was in Lagos. I returned back to Port Harcourt today and I felt that it was very important that I come to take a first-hand look at the oil spill.

“I have seen the extent of the spill and I know the consequences of this type of disaster. Something has to be done very quickly so that our people will not suffer from unnecessary ailments and hardships. There are three things that I will do to assist my people in the face of the oil spill.

“Firstly, as your representative, I will go back to Abuja and report what I have seen to the Senate during plenary. It will be considered as a matter of urgent public importance and I am sure that the Red Chamber will call on the oil company involved to quickly do something about the spill.

“Secondly, I will formally write to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) to inform them about the spill from their pipeline so that they can immediately commence cleaning and remediation activities. I will also meet with the General Manager, Government Relations of SPDC, who is our son. I believe that if this report is brought to his attention, he will definitely do the needful.

“Thirdly, I was further informed that the people of Agba-Ndele community can no longer assess potable drinking water because the spilled oil has contaminated their streams and rivers.

“I am also aware that the five boreholes that serve as alternative sources of water supply to the community have all gone bad. Therefore, I will see to it that the boreholes are immediately brought back to life in order to provide clean water for my people.”

Uchendu, while speaking on the dilapidated section of the East-West Road, said, “As the senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, it is my responsibility to always speak out for my constituents when the need arises. The bad state of the East-West road, particularly the security (C4I) checkpoint section has brought untold socio-economic suffering to my people.

“From what I have seen and heard today, I cannot sit idly and allow our people to continue to suffer this level of hardship. A situation where travelers spend between 4-6 hours on this particular section of the road is unthinkable and therefore something must be done speedily to end this nightmare.

“I will write to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to appeal for the immediate repair of this particular section of East-West Road within 14 days. The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru is a very sensitive individual and I am sure that he will do everything within his might to quickly come to the rescue.

“However, if nothing tangible is done within two weeks to make the road properly accessible, I will have no other choice but to mobilise local man-power and material resources to carry out remedial works on the road in order to reduce the extreme traffic congestion and its attendant tremendous stress which the very bad state of the road imposes on my people everyday.”